CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PNA) — Using a fake school identification card to pass through checkpoints undetected, an alleged member of the Maute group was arrested by law enforcers in a village here Thursday morning, June 15.
Chief Superintendent Agripino Javier, regional director of the Philippine National Police-10 (PNP-10), presented to the media Mohammad Noaim Maute, 22, a resident of Butig, Lanao del Sur, and suspected bomb expert of the Maute group.
Maute also goes by the names “Abu Jadid,” “Almahid Pangompig,” and in the fake Mindanao State University (MSU) student card confiscated from him, he used the name “Alfaiz Mamintal.” MSU is a state-run university based in Marawi City, and maintains several affiliates branches throughout Mindanao.
Police said the suspect is the cousin of Abdullah and Omarkhayam Maute, the leaders of the local terrorist group who are now fighting the government forces in Marawi.
Maute was arrested by a joint team of Martial Law Special Action Group (ML-SAG) consisting of police and military operatives, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and other members of the local intelligence community, outside the room he rented in a house in Sitio Santa Cruz, Barangay Macasandig, this city, at about 7:00 a.m. Thursday, June 15.
His apprehension was based on the Arrest Order No. 1 issued and signed by National Defense Secretary and Martial Law Administrator Delfin Lorenzana dated June 5, 2017for violation of Article 134 for Rebellion under the Revised Penal Code.
Javier said Maute did not resist when approached by the law enforcers. No firearms and other illegal items were taken from his possession at the time of his arrest. It was yet to be determined if the owner of the house was in cahoots with the suspect. PNA
Javier said they have been monitoring Maute’s movements since he came to the city about two weeks ago. The suspect also posed as an Arabic teacher.
Authorities were able to pinpoint the suspect’s exact location based on a tip from a concerned civilian who alerted police of a presence of a stranger in the Santa Cruz neighborhood.
In the last three days leading to his arrest, state agents began closing in on Maute as they gathered enough evidence based on the information they had gathered from text messages and calls he made from at least five cellphones he owned.
Javier said Maute was able to slip through police and military checkpoint using the fake ID assuming an alias. He also posed as one the evacuees and mingled with the rest of the internally displaced persons.
Using a facial recognition software, intelligence officers were able to verify Maute’s identity. NICA was also able to confirm the suspect’s identity, Javier added.
“We had to make sure. That’s why we waited for confirmation from [NICA] before we presented him (Maute) to the media,” he said.
Javier said they are also searching for the suspect’s companions who authorities believed are already in Cagayan de Oro.
He said Maute will be subjected to inquest proceedings before formal charges could be filed against him.
In an interview, Maute denied he is a bomber and a member of the Maute Group saying he was wrongfully accused.
“I am not a member of the Maute family. They just accused me as a bomber. I am not part of it. I am not a bomber,” Maute told reporters. PNA